Multi-channel speaker systems were all the rage for quite some time in PC gaming. In the upswing of the economy, we saw PC sound cards attempt to add as many channels as possible into their designs, sometimes way before speaker systems were out to utilize them! Well, now we have an economy in downturn. More and more gamers are moving into smaller domiciles, most often without enough space for a 7.1 channel system. What is a gamer to do? Well, thankfully, there are a slew of 2.1 channel desktop systems out right now to help you out. Creative Labs’ latest offering, the Gigaworks T3, offers exceptional quality for its $249.99 price point.
I must admit that, at first, it was quite deceiving with the Gigaworks T3. Unboxing the small, 3.7”x3.0”, satellite speakers I thought to myself that there was just no way these could be any ‘good’. They are diminutive, albeit classy, little things in appearance, being all-black except for the inner driver components which are silver and gleam through the black filter covering them. The subwoofer is definitely more impressive in appearance, measuring 11.3”x9.3”, and comes in a black, semi-gloss frame. With this relatively small form factor, though, both satellites and subwoofer fit nicely into my already-cramped desk space.
The satellites simply plug, along with the volume control pod (we’ll get to this later), into the back of the subwoofer which houses most of the system’s inputs and outputs. Aside from the satellite and control pod jacks, the back of the subwoofer also features the bass knob as well as a set of stereo audio inputs.
The subwoofer uses a new technology from Creative called SLAM: Symmetrically Loaded Acoustic Module. This system can be a bit hard to understand at first in that the big drivers you see on the subwoofer are actually not drivers you think of in most speaker systems. The powered driver is a small, unseen model within the subwoofer. The outer drivers are called ‘pressure drivers’ and simply help move the bass out of the case. It is like taking a small speaker and putting it at the smaller end of a megaphone. The pressure drivers help carry the bass out from the subwoofer in three directions, creating very rich and ambient bass. Basically, this allows you to get a ton more performance out of this 80W system than would normally be possible.
The volume control pod is a stylish remote which mainly controls the volume. However, it also houses an auxiliary-in and headset jack. This makes switching over to headsets for some stealthy rounds of Call of Duty 4 a breeze. Just plug them in and you are good to go. The auxiliary input is perfect for quickly hooking up your MP3 player to. A small blue light on the control pod indicates that the Gigaworks T3 is activated. By rotating the volume knob all the way to the minimum position, the light will simply turn off. There is no detente on the rotary control.
We played many games with the Gigaworks T3. I tried it with everything from Combat Mission Shock Force to Call of Duty: World at War. I found no instances of poor sound reproduction and as one of my US Marine’s M1A1 main battle tanks rolled past my camera view, the rich bass actually rumbled my feet – a very nice effect. While just kicking back to the songs on my iPhone or on my PC’s MP3 library, the Gigaworks T3 performed exceptionally, and you can definitely hear the quality put into its construction and design. I actually had to turn the bass knob down quite a bit during regular music listening to get a more realistic response. The subwoofer packs quite the punch!
My previously mentioned preconceived notion about the satellites being under-powered was severely mistaken. I am reminded of Jedi Master Yoda’s wisdom: ‘Size matters not’. Indeed this is true in the case of the Gigaworks T3. The speaker system truly has it where it counts. It is just a shame that they are priced at $249.99 on the official Creative website right now. Well worth every penny, in this economy it is a tough sell for any pricey electronic item. You can take refuge in the fact, however, that you can see this as an investment into your listening future. Their small form factor and big performance makes the 2.1 channel Creative Labs’ Gigaworks T3 speaker system an A+ device for gamers and music lovers alike.